Topics 101: A Deep Dive Qualitative Activity Type

If you are looking to gain deeper qualitative insights on a particular topic, then this activity is for you. Topics give respondents time-activated sequential questions that help you uncover in-depth insights. Topics are focused studies with a group of consumers on a specific topic.


Similar to bulletin boards, members are able to interact with other responses in a message board setting and answer the different questions provided.

What are Topics?

This activity works by giving respondents questions that can be served all at once or over a set time period. There is also the option to place a moderator into the activity who can add additional questions into the activity, comment on threaded discussions, and reply to respondents’ questions.


These questions can be open or close-ended and be displayed based on conditional logic, group logic and start/end dates and times. Open-ended questions are either threaded discussions (meaning when public, members can see each other's responses/reply to them) or  private discussions (meaning that members can only see their replies and moderator replies). In close-ended questions, respondents see the aggregate results of the question when it is set as public.


Topics contain 13 different question types to help you gather feedback from your respondents. Some of the types include:


-       Battle: Two images are displayed and respondents pick which image they prefer.

-       Dial Testing: A video is played and participants comment on various parts of the video and/or slide a dial to indicate how much they enjoy it.

-       Markup: An image is presented and participants can click around the image to either make comments on a particular area or indicate if they like or dislike a particular area.

-       Text Input: A freeform open response. This question type is unique to the Topics activity.

-       Threaded Discussion: Another long, open response that allows a moderator to ask follow-ups. If you have made questions public, other participants are also able to respond to others’ answers.

What are some uses for Topics?

Topics can be used externally as well as in the community for a variety of purposes.


Topics are a situational research tool that are mainly geared towards exploratory research and qualitative research. Topics are exploratory as they are open-ended and utilize moderator feedback. They also allow you to really probe respondents and follow-up on interesting things they say, as well as change the direction of the research in real-time should you discover things during the course of the Topic. In addition, Topic tools such as a threaded discussion are a major advantage. These allow for interaction between respondents/moderators and, because they are run over time, respondents can check back in and the moderator is able to guide the conversation and elicit feedback.


Topics can also be thought of as an alternative to Video Chats. They allow respondents to share their thoughts and opinions with you and also with each other, and the moderator can continue to probe/follow-up on specific things a member said, or they can launch entirely new questions based on the direction that the feedback is taking. This takes place over a certain time period, as opposed to a Video Chat which takes place in real-time. Overall, it is a good alternative to a video chat because it does not require the person to dedicate a large amount of time all at once to the Topic.

Specific uses for Topics:

Customer purchase journey - Topics are useful when it comes to capturing sentiment as well as thought processes/actual processes at each step of the customer purchase journey.


Exploratory research - Topics allow researchers to dive in on specific qualitative topics such as product/service usage, product/service sentiment, pain points, what brands are doing well/poorly.


Concept Evaluation/Design - The qualitative nature of the Topics activity allows respondents to thoroughly respond to concept and design evaluations.


To learn more about Topics, click here to schedule a platform demonstration.

Posted by Liza Armstrong

Liza is an associate member of our Marketing team. She is skilled in content creation, data analysis, and research.